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Posted at: Dec 29, 2018, 12:04 AM; last updated: Dec 29, 2018, 12:07 AM (IST)

Saqib Saleem makes an impressive web debut

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Rangbaaz

  • Cast:Saqib Saleem, Ahana Kumra, Ranveer Shorey, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Yogendra Tiku, Alka Amin
  • Director: Bhav Dhulia
Saqib Saleem makes an impressive web debut

The crux of the newly-discovered creative freedom on the web-format is how effectively that freedom is used. Rangbaaz the new webseries about swaggering gangsterism in the  badlands of Uttar Pradesh, scores pretty high in the  sphere  of restrained freedom.

The abuses are kept at a surprisingly low level. To depict the lowlife a filmmaker needn’t stoop low. And though the characters belong to the crass roots they don’t pump up their aggression level with perverse dialogues. In one section of the  judiciously-crafted narration where frills and fireworks are never appended on for no reason, the protagonist Shiv Prakash Shukla (Saqib Saleem) is whisked off to Bangkok with a  politician’s goon. 

The interlude could have comfortably embraced sleaze. Instead, the narrative builds a credible camaraderie between the two men and a startling yet subtle game-plan for Shukla.

Rangbaaz has nothing new to say about the  genesis of crime and criminals in the cow belt. Depiction of exploitation of the weaker  sections and the rise of the criminal hero has  been a fairly routine formula in a certain kind of ground-level cinema patented by the likes of Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu Dhulia.

The latter, incidentally puts in quite a credible performance as a cunning politician on the prowl looking for young vulnerable recruits to his dirty job. The  engrossing series  is  carpeted with solid performances, none more so that  Saqib Saleem who nails  Shukla’s  journey from being a innocent man to someone who derives sadistic  pleasure in taking lives…Saqib  maps the  darkening personality with a diligence that we never saw coming. This performance is an opportunity of a new awakening for the  actor, and he nails  it.

While telling a story that never slackens  in pace, Rangbaaz also makes  space to  apprise  us  of  the  political scenario of the  1990s when job reservations created a prominent  caste cleft in North India.

Sturdily crafted and persuasively told, Rangbaaz brings alive the nexus between  politics and crime in  the  1990s , a nexus that has only grown with time. —IANS

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